Museum Inside-Out: Design Department

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There is more to an exhibition than the artwork within it. Each exhibition has its own look and feel. The design of the title, the colors of the walls, the path through the exhibition, and how the art is arranged all play a role in your experience of an exhibition.

As you can imagine, curators, exhibition designers, and graphic designers spend many hours preparing an exhibition. They even use a miniature version of the galleries to work through how the story of the exhibition will be told.

↓ The Exhibition Designer

↓ The Graphic Designer

↓ The Public Relations Manager

↓ Design Case Study

Your turn! Make your own Exhibition Model

Exhibition designers at the Museum use a specially made model—almost like a dollhouse—to represent the galleries (or the rooms in the Museum) in miniature. This way, they can easily try different arrangements of the walls (yes, they can be moved!), the artwork, and the benches, and see the overall flow of the exhibition. Imagine moving—and then moving again, and then again—these heavy (and expensive) items around the galleries, until you have it just right! The model makes things much easier.

Make your own gallery!
Make your own gallery!

Make your own model. You will need:

  • A shoebox or cardboard box (depending on the size of your gallery)
  • Magazines
  • Cardstock (index cards, postcards, old holiday or birthday cards)
  • Scissors
  • Glue or glue sticks
  • Single-sided Tape
  • Optional: Dollhouse figures or chairs, wallpaper samples, paint chips, scrap paper, glitter—use your imagination!

Stand the shoebox up, lengthwise on its side. Place the lid of the box face down; slide it lengthwise into the box. This way, you are looking into your museum gallery, with three walls, a ceiling, and a floor, and the box stands more securely on its own.

Cut out images, patterns, objects, and people from the magazines. Glue the cutouts onto cardstock so they are sturdier. Now arrange these items in your gallery. Use tape to adhere the cutouts; this will allow you to try different arrangements. Do you want certain patterns on the floor or the walls? Where do you want to place the artwork? Imagine that you could walk inside your new gallery—that is exactly what the Museum’s designers do! What would you want to see and do inside? Make sure to include those things—your gallery should be a place that you would want to visit often.

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